Jackets score five straight to overcome 'Hawks lead

CHICAGO (AP) -- The Columbus Blue Jackets didn't panic after

falling behind by two goals early in the game.

Rick Nash scored twice as Columbus rallied with five straight

goals, and then held for a 5-4 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks

on Saturday night.

Jaroslav Balastik, Manny Malhotra and Duvie Westcott also scored

as the Blue Jackets went 3-for-8 on the power play and spoiled

Chicago's home opener before a crowd of 17,133. Pascal Leclaire

stopped 18 shots.

"A couple of years ago were could have gotten down by two

goals, just gone home and kind of shut it down," Nash said. "But

with our new team now, we're not getting down and just kind of keep

on going. We were lucky enough that things turned our way."

Leclaire, who stopped 41 of 44 shots in a 3-2 overtime loss at

home to Vancouver on Friday, said he and his teammates kept their

focus against Chicago.

"We stuck to our game plan and it worked tonight," Leclaire

said. "We played very solid. When you give up only about 20 shots,

you're playing well defensively.

"It was a dirty, ugly win, but we found a way to get the two


Adrian Aucoin, Jeff Hamilton, Patrick Sharp and Martin Havlat

scored for the Blackhawks.

Chicago's Nikolai Khabibulin had 19 saves, but has allowed 11

goals in his first two starts. The Blackhawks won 8-6 at Nashville

on Thursday night.

Chicago coach Trent Yawney wasn't critical of his goalie, but

ripped the rest of his team following the loss.

"He's going to see guys in his crease in his sleep," Yawney

said. "It's very difficult to play disciplined hockey without

self-disciplined people. Try it. It doesn't work."

After grabbing a 2-0 lead, the Blackhawks were sloppy for about

the next 30 minutes, taking penalties and committing turnovers that

helped enable Columbus' comeback.

"We deserved our fate," Havlat said.

Chicago was outshot 13-3 in the first period, but scored on its

first two attempts.

Aucoin opened the scoring at 5:31 when Radim Vrbata's centering

pass deflected in off Aucoin's skate. The goal withstood a video

review. Hamilton then had a power-play goal through a screen from

the right point at 7:16.

The Blue Jackets responded with two power-play goals late in the

first to tie the score 2-all. Nash cut it to 2-1 with 5:01

remaining, knocking in a rebound from the left side of the net.

Balastik tied it with 2:37 to go, converting a rebound of Anders

Eriksson's shot from the point.

Malhotra made it 3-2 with 9:11 left in the second with Columbus'

third straight power-play goal.

Following Duncan Keith's turnover, Nash took a pass from David

Vyborny, broke in alone and beat Khabibulin 55 seconds later.

Westcott made it 5-2 with 6:27 left in the period, banking in a

shot off Khabibulin's pads from the side of the net.

Sharp's power-play goal with 4:19 left in the third cut

Chicago's deficit it to 5-3. Havlat fired in a loose puck from the

side of the net with 3:56 remaining to pull the Blackhawks within

one.Game notes
Havlat has three goals and three assists in his first two

games with the Blackhawks. ... Out with long-term injuries for

Chicago are G Patrick Lalime (back surgery, three monnths), F Tuomo

Ruutu (sprained knee, four weeks) and D Cam Barker (ankle surgery,

four to six weeks) ... D Bryan Berard (back) and F Sergei Fedorov

(shoulder, four to six weeks) are long-term injuries for Columbus.

... Blue Jackets D Rotislav Klesla served the second game of a

two-game suspension for clipping Ruutu in an exhibition game at

Columbus on Sept. 22. ... Hamilton's goal was his first with the

Blackhawks and third of his career. Formerly in the New York

Islanders' organization, Hamilton was signed by Chicago as a free

agent on Sept. 29 after a strong training camp.